Leveraging Your Rotating Equipment Asset Management System to Improve Reliability
by Malik Durojaiye, on 2/2/21 9:00 AM
An enterprise asset management (EAM) system such as Maximo, Aviva, and Infor can be one of the most powerful tools any organization has to improve the reliability of critical assets. Of course, that assumes your maintenance culture values the accurate and timely recording of asset performance and maintenance data, and system administrators are skilled in managing and analyzing the data to uncover trends and operational factors that might otherwise go unnoticed.
In any large organization, myriad assets fall under the “rotating equipment” category. And when you have data for hundreds to thousands of the same type of equipment in your enterprise asset management system, you gain a decided advantage in understanding reliability issues.
Managing Rotating Equipment: Asset Management Systems Are Essential
Let’s look at this from the perspective of industries such as chemical, petroleum, oil, gas, or energy generation that rely on pumps, seals, and seal support systems to keep operations running smoothly. Pumping processes can vary from relatively simple water transport that uses packing glands to minimize leakage to far more sophisticated high-pressure, high-temperature pumps moving hydrocarbons through a critical refining step. In the latter example, API Plans 52 to 76 employing dual mechanical seals are more complex and present greater reliability challenges.
For managing rotating equipment like these, asset management systems are essential. In particular, they help improve reliability in three ways: 1) advise regarding repairs, 2) facilitate faster problem diagnosis, and 3) guide planning for new pump installations.
1. Repair, Upgrade, or Replace Aging Pumps?
When you have hundreds of pumps, seals, and seal support systems, with an enterprise asset management system it's easier to quickly gain a sense of which pumps are in most need of repair, upgrades, or replacements. By querying the enterprise asset management system using criteria such as type, seal support system, installation date, location, and sorting the results you can determine:
- where the oldest pumps are located;
- the total number of the different types of pumps and their seal support systems; and
- prioritization, based on pump age.
Further analysis of pump maintenance data can reveal:
- pumps that are most frequently repaired;
- types of repairs per type of pump; and
- methods or materials used for repairs (great insight into repair effectiveness).
You might also calculate the MTBF and cumulative downtime for a pump or class of pumps and the cost of their repairs. Careful analysis of these data will help you determine which pumps or seal support systems are best suited for replacement; which pumps can be improved with an upgrade such as increased cooling capacity for the seal support system; and those where a simple component repair—broken pressure or temperature gauge—is all that’s needed to boost pump performance.
2. More Accurate Diagnosis and Faster Problem Remediation
The data contained in an enterprise asset management system can also help you more efficiently diagnose problems. With many pumps of the same type and similar pumping conditions, it’s easier to identify the most prevalent failure modes. When failure information is recorded in the EAM, maintenance personnel can quickly narrow the possible reasons for pump failure prior to heading out to the plant to fix the problem. For example, maintenance records can reveal that the most frequent cause of failure for a pump processing high-temperature hydrocarbons is coking on the atmospheric seal caused by insufficient steam flush. With that information in hand, the maintenance engineer can begin the diagnosis, focusing on problems with the plant steam supply line first.
3. Planning for New Installations
Information contained in the enterprise asset management system can also be used for better planning of new installations. Performance and maintenance data from existing pump installations can help determine the optimum configuration for a new pump. For example, the problem with the steam supply mentioned above could be proactively addressed by incorporating pressure and temperature gauges with transmitters to warn of insufficient steam delivery.
The wealth of pump-specific performance and maintenance data acquired over years can show how:
- difficulty accessing high-point vents and low-point drains on some seal support systems are correlated with longer planned maintenance procedures
- adding a piston accumulator to help deliver barrier fluid at a constant pressure to dual-seal pumps increased MTBF by 47%
- the choice of cyclone separators over strainers for pumping fluids with high particulate concentrations resulted in reduced maintenance tickets by half
- the conditions under which packing glands performed well
Those are only a few of the many insights that can be used to help ensure the best design practices and materials are being used to optimize the performance and reliability of new installations.
Swagelok + Asset Management Analysis = Improved Reliability
Enterprise asset management systems are essential for any organization that wants to maximize the reliability of rotating equipment (and dozens of other critical asset types) across their organization. A well-designed and well-managed asset management system can provide information regarding maintenance issues that would otherwise remain hidden. Swagelok recognizes the value of EAM systems. We rely on EAM to keep our own manufacturing processes running smoothly.
Our on-site Field Engineers are happy to review your pump performance and maintenance records to help diagnose non-obvious reasons for problems and recommend the right solutions. Every one of our engineers brings industry experience, along with access to a worldwide team of experts. Think of Swagelok as an extension of your maintenance and operations team who can help you better leverage your rotating equipment asset management system information to
maximize pump reliability through mechanical seal support systems, assemblies, and components tailored to the unique requirements of each pumping process.
For more than five decades, Swagelok has been assisting the chemical, petroleum, oil and gas, power generation, and semiconductor industries in Northern California to improve the performance and reliability of centrifugal pumps. We’d welcome the opportunity to work with you.
To find out more about how Swagelok Northern California can help you apply useful insights obtained from your enterprise asset management system to improve pump performance and reliability, contact our team today by calling 510-933-6200.
About Malik Durojaiye | Field Engineer, Assembly Services
Malik Durojaiye began his Swagelok career in 2019 as a Custom Solutions Engineer in our Assembly Services group. Prior to Swagelok, Malik developed as a design engineer as well as a manufacturing engineer for 6 years serving Kentucky and California with Altec Industries; a leading provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets.